Leave a comment


Grade A+ Musical Sensation

By Brenda and Rick McCain

Let’s Play

What do you do when you’re down on your luck and life has thrown you a bunch of lemons? What do you do when the universe has stopped turning in your favor because all you want to do is play in your rock band, but you’re suddenly forced to grow up and put your childish dreams behind you.

Andrew Webber’s smash hit “School of Rock” takes us on more than just a musical journey of finding oneself, it takes us on a melodic tour of students learning to embrace their talents and overcome their problems with the help of a down and out wannabe rock star by the name of Dewey Finn (Rob Colletti), who is depressed by the multitude of his debts and the fact that his future is fading fast.

Dewey is the founder of a band called No Vacancy, which is currently performing at a nightclub. However, three weeks before auditioning for the Battle of the Bands, his on-stage antics, including a stage dive that abruptly ends the performance, upsets the lead singer and the band members unanimously decided to replace him with another guitarist named Spider.

The down-on-his-luck would-be rock star Dewey lives with his friend Ned Schneebly (Matt Bittner) who is a school teacher living with his overbearing girlfriend Patty Di Marco (Emily Borromeo). Dewey is four months past due on his rent money, and Patty is relentlessly putting the pressure on him to pay up or get out. While trying to sell some of his equipment for rent money, Dewey answers a phone call from Rosalie Mullins (Lexie Dorsett Sharp), the principal at Horace Green Prep School, who is calling for Ned about a short-term position as a substitute teacher.

Desperate for money, Dewey seizes upon the opportunity to impersonate Ned and is hired. On his first day at the school, Dewey arrives hours late, which goes against Horace Green’s standards of excellence. He also requests that his pay comes in cash to avoid being caught. Principal Mullins, shocked by his appearance and request, explains to Dewey aka Ned, all of the things required of him as a teacher before introducing him to his new students.

Dewey can’t comprehend the school’s sophisticated, grown-up behavior placed on the kids so he adopts the name “Mr. S” (unable to spell Ned’s last name) and spends his first day behaving in an unpredictable manner confusing the 5th graders, which causes Summer (Ava Briglia) to tell him she will report him to the principal.

The storyline goes from entertaining to downright tremendously fantastic and eccentric when Dewey overhears all of the talent coming from a music class. Thrilled that there is music in the air, Dewey hatches a plan to form these tiny powerhouse musicians into a new band so that they can audition for the Battle of the Bands and win the $10,000 prize.

He assigns the students their roles in the band and teaches them how to play and perform the music called rock, which they have never heard. The new band consists of an electrical & bass guitarist, drummer, keyboard player, and Dewey as lead vocalist and guitarist. He assigns the rest of the class to various roles of backup singers, groupies, roadies, and a band manager. They have everything but a name, and that name will become their identity to themselves and their parents.

Two weeks into Dewey’s aka (Mr. S) hiring, the cat, and mouse chase begins when Dewey sneaks his key band members out of school to audition for a spot in the Battle of The Bands competition. When one of the key band members wanders off, Dewey retrieves him, but the group is rejected because the competition is completed and they have all of the bands they need. But Summer, the band manager, comes to the rescue and tricks the lead staffer of the competition into thinking that the kids in the band have a terminal illness, which works, and the band get a chance to audition.

Meanwhile, the school principal grows suspicious of Dewey’s teaching methods and decides to check on Dewey’s teaching progress, forcing Dewey to teach the actual material, which is done in a hilarious new method that surprises the principal and the students. She then drops a bombshell on Dewey by informing him that the parents’ night will take place at the school the day before Battle of the Bands.

More bad news comes when Ned realizes that Dewey has been impersonating him when he receives a paycheck from Horace Green.  During the parents’ meeting, the parents question what Dewey has been teaching the kids and that’s when Patty comes in with the police to confront Dewey as a fraud and showing the entire class that the real Neb Schneebly is her boyfriend. Panic erupts and the parents are infuriated. Principal Mullins questions herself after accepting a date at a bar with Dewey, exposing how much she really loves rock music. Dewey comes clean and reveals his true identity, admits he’s not a licensed teacher and flees to his apartment.

The parents are frantic and angry at her for having this person over their kids, however, during the meeting, Mullins discovers that the kids are missing and Mullins and the parents race to the competition.

Patty gets home to see Dewey there, and another argument erupts; Ned intervenes and tells Dewey to move out.

However, the kids have decided not to let their hard work go to waste. They hijack a school bus and come to the house to pick up Dewey, who leads the kids to the Battle of the Bands and decides that they want to play the song written by Zack.

Dewey and the band win over the entire crowd, but No Vacancy wins the competition. Saddened by the loss, Dewey hears something that he’s always wanted to hear, the crowd chanting their name and demanding an encore.

Dewey is offered to coach the kids in an after-school program known as the School of Rock, and the kids have finally been heard by their parents.

We 100% recommend “The School of Rock!” This musical is a great gift for the children and a family joy ride you don’t want to miss.

Cast Includes:







OLIVIA BUCKNOR (Shonelle, u/s Tomika)

JOHN CAMPIONE (Swing, u/s Ned)

PATRICK CLANTON (Gabe Brown, Mr. Hamilton, Jeff Sanderson, Ensemble)

CHRISTOPHER DeANGELIS (Dance Captain, Swing)

KRISTIAN ESPIRITU (Ensemble, u/s Patty)

MELANIE EVANS (Ensemble, u/s Rosalie)

RAYNA FARR (Swing, u/s Summer, Marcy, Katie, Shonelle)

LIAM FENNECKEN (Bob, Mr. Sanford, Cop, Ensemble, u/s Dewey)

BELLA FRAKER (Swing, u/s Summer, Marcy, Katie, Shonelle)


KARA HALLER (Assistant Dance Captain, Swing, u/s Patty, Ms. Sheinkopf)


CARSON HODGES (Mason, u/s Lawrence)

ELYSIA JORDAN (Mrs. Hathaway, Ensemble, u/s Rosalie, Ms. Sheinkopf)

DEIDRE LANG (Ms. Sheinkopf)

ALEX LOUIS (Swing, u/s Freddy, Mason, Billy)

SINCLAIR MITCHELL (Snake, Mr. Mooneyham, Ensemble)



JAMESON MOSS (Stanley, Mr. Williams, Ensemble, u/s Dewey)

JOHN MICHAEL PITERA (Billy, u/s Lawrence)

TOMMY RAGEN (James, u/s Zack)



TIM SHEA (Doug, Mr. Spencer, Ensemble, u/s Ned)

GABRIELLA UHL (Sophie, Tomika)

HERNANDO UMANA (Theo, u/s Ned)

AIDEN NIKLAS VILLA (Swing, u/s Zack, Freddy, Billy, Mason)


Book by Julian Fellowes

Lyrics by Glenn Slater


Cadillac Palace Theatre

November 1-19, 2017

Also On The Chicago Defender:
Chicago is new fashion mecca for ethnic wear
34 photos
comments – add yours